Hustings in Tumkur revolve around Modi

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Candidates of major political parties are bandying about the name of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to woo voters in the Tumkur Lok Sabha constituency.

While the saffron party’s G S Basavaraju mouths platitudes about the Gujarat chief minister and his achievements, Congress’ S P Muddahanume Gowda goes around telling people not to vote the “divisive” BJP to power.

“I believe the Modi model of administration is the answer to our problems in the constituency,” says Basavaraju who apparently has little knowledge about what Modi has done in his state.
Setting a hard target for himself of touring 3,800-odd villages in the constituency, Basavaraju has been harping on Modi to seek votes. A sitting MP and a Lingayat leader handpicked by his mentor B S Yeddyurappa, he is trying to “rebuild” the BJP’s image in Tumkur “from the scratch.”

In his own words, he has a “daunting task on hand to project an undivided BJP, which was split into two after Yeddyurappa formed his Karnataka Janata Party.” Yeddyurappa, though, is back in the BJP.

In the Madhugiri Assembly constituency, where the BJP does not have a strong presence, Basavaraju is said to be getting little response from the party workers. After visiting a temple near Hindupur and making offerings, he proceeds to Madhugiri, halting briefly at places to meet people and discuss ways to ensure the victory of BJP in the coming election.

Taking advantage

“I am presently happy with the party workers’ initiatives in the constituency. While both the Congress and the JD(S) candidates are outsiders, I know the people in the constituency,” he reassures himself. At the other end, Muddahanume Gowda, who got a ticket thanks to KPCC president G Parameshwara, has decided to take advantage of Modi’s unpopularity among the minorities.

In the Tumkur Assembly constituency, with Congress’ sitting MLA Rafiq Ahmed by his side, Gowda approaches Muslims seeking votes, soon after their afternoon prayers.

“If you want to save the country from Modi, please vote for Congress. Do not waste a single precious vote on any other party. It will divide us, Muslims. Save the country from the murderer and evil Modi,” Congress supporters from the minority community tell their brethren.

According to Gowda, Modi is a non-entity when it comes to seeking votes from the rural population in the constituency. “I cannot say that in the urban pockets Modi is not a factor. But with almost 3,000 plus villages in the rural belt, the Modi factor will be nullified,” he says.

While both the candidates believe that their candidature is best suited for the constituency, based on their merit, Modi’s name, however, will be the premise for their campaign.

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